General Question

jonsblond's avatar

Can you give me one good reason why a 10 year old girl should have a Facebook account?

Asked by jonsblond (38514 points ) February 23rd, 2014

No, I’m not looking for a good reason to let my daughter have an account. I’ve already adamantly told her no. I’d like to know why other parents are letting their 9 and 10 year old daughters have a Facebook account.

A few of my daughter’s friends and two of her cousins have had accounts since they were 9–10 years of age. One of her cousins is now 11 and there is already drama unfolding on her account. This can’t be good.

I am so thankful that all those notes I wrote on paper to friends when I was this age are long gone. I shudder at the thought that those words would be permanent if Facebook had been available to me.

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63 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

As soon as you give me a good reason anyone should have one.
I find fb to be pretty fucking retarded as a whole, but yea, a little kid has no business on there.

johnpowell's avatar

My sister has 13 year old twin girls. They don’t want Facebook since their mom hangs out there. They use Snapchat instead. This could possibly be worse.

LDRSHIP's avatar

Only reason I would say is to stay connected to family if live far apart. There is also other means of staying connected…. Other than that, it is rather pointless.

jerv's avatar

If you wish to have them socially 30–50 years behind the times, then I can see sheltering your kids from modern life.

Like it or not, this is 2014, not 1964, or even 1984. The world has changed since you and I were that age. Accept it.

longgone's avatar

I know a kid who created her account at about nine years of age. She used it to stay in touch with her best friend – who lived 4000 miles away at the time. Pretty good reason. She is now fourteen and logs on about once every couple of months.

Another reason: If parents make a big deal out of Facebook, it’ll stay interesting for a long time.

Do you have Facebook? I’d understand not wanting her on there without your guidance.

ucme's avatar

Facebook fail #56,949

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

Social media are inevitable, but Facebook is not. In fact, Facebook is arguably obsolete. The “cool kids” are now using other sites like snapchat or whatsapp (notwithstanding the fact that Facebook keeps gobbling up the newcomers.)
Before there was facebook there was myspace; before myspace there was geocities; before geocities there was AOL; before that there was compuserve. All corporate-sponsored “content farm” garbage. The whole time there’s been IRC, email, newsgroups and all the other accoutrements of the “old” non-Web Internet. These things have never gone away because they are services that anyone can host, not sites owned and managed by some third party jealously guarding data that doesn’t belong to them.

No one should use Facebook, or Google Plus, or Snapchat, or whatever new, flashy thing replaces them. They are bright baubles made to distract the dumb while mining them for fake ‘data’ to be sold to clueless marketeering gasbags in plastic suits. This data is of no real practical positive use to anyone other than the giver; but it has many nefarious purposes, even short of blackmail or identity theft.

Any time you send data over the Internet, it is subject to capture and copying. The only way to protect your data is to encrypt it. If you want to communicate with any privacy at all then you need both to use encryption and to trust the recipient not to post your communications. The latter is a personal matter which will vary and will inevitably cause personal drama. The former is a fairly simple matter of software. You can already encrypt your emails and build a Web of Trust using Gnu Privacy Guard, but that’s not easy, and it’s not enough. If you want privacy you have to demand it of the people who write your software, and you have to be willing to pay for it.

Facebook isn’t going to do it for you, because facebook does not care about you (nor about your daughter.) You are not Facebook’s customer- you are their product. They are selling you. The buyers are mostly the aforementioned marketing combines, but could include anyone who might want to know (or infer) things about you… and you’d better believe Facebook isn’t going to tell you who.

whitenoise's avatar

To keep in touch with their former class and classmates, now that they live 4,000 miles away.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

I’ll amend what I said above:

No one should use Facebook (et al.) unless they have fully read, understood, and freely agree to the site’s Terms of Service and various policies, and trust the owners and managers and everyone with access to the site backend (whether authorized or unauthorized) to adhere to the stated terms.

Thus, in my opinion, Facebook and similar are unsuitable for personal use. They are OK for corporate communications, press releases, and other explicitly public data.

marinelife's avatar

I agree with you: no, no and no.

jerv's avatar

@rexacoracofalipitorius It is impossible to be both social and utterly secretive. The fact that you did not encrypt your post with 4096-bit encryption and allow it to only be read by those you have the decryption key to proves that even you are not averse to letting a little bit of info out. Then again, you’re probably posting through TOR to obfuscate any attempt to put an IP to your Fluther username and created your Fluther account with a throwaway e-mail address anyways.

Thin is, not everybody is as private or paranoid as you though, and while I can understand the need for young ones to be protected, I don’t think that they are at appreciably more risk than they are offline or than adults are, so I don’t buy that argument.

Just curious; is there any social media you do think is appropriate for personal use?

hominid's avatar

I was under the impression that Facebook is as cool and desirable as getting your AARP card in kids’ minds.

ragingloli's avatar

The 10 year old girl is in reality a 40 year old undercover FBI agent?

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

@jerv You’re quite correct, and no one is both social and utterly secretive at the same time. I’m not only not obfuscated on Fluther, I have my real email, my public PGP key and links to my other public web stuff posted in my profile. But Fluther is a site with a particular purpose, and it’s easy for me to watch what I say here. Facebook attempts to be all things to all, and its ever-changing “privacy” policy and opaque sharing policies make it difficult at best for a user to determine how far information posted to Facebook is disseminated. Things marked “private” on Facebook aren’t really private. The same is true for other ‘catch-all’ social-media sites.

I do use other social media sites, some under assumed names, and I use those to say things I wouldn’t say under my own name. For other ‘social media’ use, I use various IRC channels (which are even less private than Facebook is, but then they don’t pretend to offer privacy.) I could use OTR:“https://otr.cypherpunks.ca/” with IRC (or Jabber or ICQ or whatever) but I don’t, because why bother?

I don’t use a 4096-bit key for email, because it takes a long time to generate one and I am lazy. When and if I get a Debian developer’s key (speed the day!) it will have to be >= 4096 bits, because Debian is important infrastructure and to have someone intercepting commits and substituting their own patch would, while not necessarily constituting a disaster, at least make a lot more unnecessary work for a great many people. We choose the tools we need for the job at hand.

That’s the way it is now. If setting-up and managing keys were easier, I’d have more and stronger keys. If setting up a web of trust was easier, I’d only ever email people who were in mine. But these things are not easy, and privacy will not be available until they are.
End users shouldn’t have to think about this stuff any more than they have to think about SSL nowadays. You go to your bank’s website, check for the little lock icon, enter your password. BOOM. Done. It’s a lot of work on your bank’s part to make it work, but it works fine as long as you trust your bank and you both trust the authority that issued your certificate. Personal encryption and privacy tools should be as easy as that, and someday they will be. Until that day, the internet will continue to leak sensitive information all over the place, endangering all of us.

Security is about trust, and it’s dangerous to trust unthinkingly. Children can’t be expected to make complicated decisions about trust and agency. Some of these decisions are too difficult even for informed adults to make! This isn’t because the problem is fundamentally too hard (we all constantly make similar decisions throughout the day, like trusting the boss to pay you for your work or trusting the other drivers on the road not to go the wrong way in your lane) but because the systems of the internet are not designed with robust and easy-to-use trust models, and where the designs exist they are not implemented. If you live in the US, your ISP probably does not offer IPv6 access to you. You certainly don’t get IPSec or DNSSec. These technologies have been around for about twenty years, but they are costly (in sysadmin time) to implement, and there’s no immediate monetary benefit for the providers to implement them.

jerv's avatar

@rexacoracofalipitorius You make it sound like controlling your personal information is a vital skill in today’s information-driven society, moreso than in the past, and almost in the same league as toilet training and dressing one’s self. Maybe something that one should learn early on in life.

Emmy1234's avatar

I agree with @jonsblond. I have a 12 year old and she is not allowed to have a facebook account. Kids can be really mean and not realize the repercussions of the decisions they make. When mean things are said it can seem like the end of the world for the bullied kid. I can’t protect mine at school but I do my best to protect her at home. I have a nephew that is allowed to be on FB and whatever else he decides to get on. Seeing what he posts completey justifies my thinking for not letting her have one. When she is an adult she can do what she wants but until then no FB, no cell phones, and computer time is supervisied by me! I often wonder if the parents that do allow their children on these sites have read the horror stories of kids that committed suicide or were stalked by child predators. I was a pretty unruly teenager and I had total disregard for others feelings, rules, and laws at that age. You don’t think about what is going to happen down the road. I don’t want something she does or what someone else does to permanently impact her life becauses it written in stone on a website.

BosM's avatar

No, I can’t, but I can give you information on COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) which sets 13 as the minimum age for most social media sites (including Facebook). COPPA prohibits web sites from collecting information on children younger than 13 years of age without permission from their parents.

COPPA is designed to protect children’s privacy and safety. 13 years old is young, but 10 years of age is too soon for a child to be unmonitored on the internet (IMHO).

ibstubro's avatar

I created a FB account and closed it 3 days later because it creeped me out. Friends, family, business and strangers do not need to mix on-line.

That said, I do have a business account. Every few months something piques my interest on Facebook and I log on to view it. I wonder if you couldn’t have a Blonde Family account that allowed the youngsters access to Facebook, but no real privacy? Access with accountability. Teach them that nothing is really private on the internet, anyway.

zenvelo's avatar

!. It can be set up so they can communicate with relatives; cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

2. It can be a learning experience where you can teach them how to protect themselves on line.

Seek's avatar

I got started with ICQ when I was 8, and that was 20 years ago. And that was when privacy settings and predator awareness was practically nil.

It’s really, really not that big a deal. Especially when you, as a parent, know what is going on, and can require your daughter to give you the password to the account and set privacy settings.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Games is the biggest excuse I hear.

keobooks's avatar

I don’t think anyone under 13 is actually allowed to have a FaceBook account, but I could be wrong. I know people who give FB accoutns to their fetuses. It’s very silly. I wouldn’t let a 10 year old have one.

jonsblond's avatar

Oh @jerv, she will not be socially 30–50 years behind the times if we delay a social media account for a few more years until she is of legal age to have one. Did you always jump off cliffs when everyone else did?

@BosM 13 years old is young, but 10 years of age is too soon for a child to be unmonitored on the internet (IMHO). I agree.

@longgone Yes, I’ve had a Facebook account since 2009 and our sons began using Facebook around the same time. They were teenagers when they joined.

If parents make a big deal out of Facebook, it’ll stay interesting for a long time. We (husband and I) are not making a big deal out of anything. She asked and we said no.

jerv's avatar

@jonsblond If the world moved as slowly as it used to, I might agree. However, in this day and age, it’s really not much different than not learning the alphabet until the third grade. Sounds to me like you’re still stuck a few decades in the past yourself.

That said, I think 10 is a little young for unmonitored access.

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Seek's avatar

FWIW:

My son is five.

He has a tablet computer that he got for his birthday from his auntie. It is attached to his own email account (named after his imaginary rock band) that I maintain the password for. He has a partition on my laptop that I maintain the password for, that is also attached to his email account.

I get an email from the system once a week telling me every website he visited. Yes, there’s a bookmark folder with pre-approved websites, but if he wants to search for something I let him click around. His Google account is set to SafeSearch so nothing adult will pop up, and I have adblock and malware protection installed. He occasionally asks to Skype with @cazzie’s son, which he does from my Skype account.

I’m almost certain he’ll have social media profiles in the next couple of years (as he learns to write and type better), to stay in contact and collaborate with other homeschooled children and friends around the world. I will maintain passwords and access to all accounts, probably until he’s 14 or 15.

That’s the plan anyway.

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jerv's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Sounds like your kid is getting prepped for life in the 21st century.

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Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@seek_Kolinar offers a solution that responsible parents should consider emulating.

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BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

I don’t think anyone should be on Face Book so I surely would not permit a 10 year old to have an account.

filmfann's avatar

I am opposed to giving anyone younger than 16 a Facebook page, but you wanted one good reason why they should have one, so here it is.

It will be easier to share homework assignments when they are sick from school.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

@jerv I do think that managing one’s information is and increasingly becomes a vital skill, akin to dressing oneself.
When we begin to teach people to dress, we don’t toss them a bolt of cloth and a spool of thread and expect them to tailor their own pants. Unfortunately this is analogous to the current state of encryption and privacy tools. We don’t consider it reasonable to expect people to know how to examine and deconstruct their clothing in order to ensure that said clothing is capable of covering their junk, but we do just that with software (or else gloss-over the matter entirely). Clothing is relatively easy, software is hard.
Normal adults know more-or-less how to manage their information. They know what messages they want to publish to the world, which they want to multicast to a select group, and which to send to an individual. Using a tool that makes it hard for them to understand when a “private” message is not really private (that is, readable by anyone other than the intended recipient) doesn’t help them to learn to effectively manage their information. Software that isn’t up-front with you about what it’s doing isn’t good software, whether the misunderstanding is by design (i.e., deliberate deception) or by accident (a crappy interface).

Seek's avatar

Fortunately, my child’s clothing advice doesn’t come from his pants, it comes from his parents.

In the same way, he is being brought up in such a way as to recognize what media is, and what it does, and how to stay safe. “Mama, why do you have to put in the password?” So I know when you’re going on the computer. “Mama, why can’t I have Skype on my partition?” Because I don’t want random people calling you. “Mama, why can’t I buy this game from the Play store?” Because it costs money. Look for the ones that say “free”.

If a five year old can understand to look for the “free” symbol in the corner when looking for a new version of Tetris, I’m certain a 10 year old can be taught to make sure the “friends only” box is checked on their Facebook posts. And again, I firmly believe parents should know their kids’ Facebook (or whatever) passwords until they have demonstrated an appropriate level of respect for the potentially dangerous animal that is social media.

jerv's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr The reason your 5 year old does understand that sort of thing is because of parental involvement.

@rexacoracofalipitorius Regardless of the quality of software, I think a kid would have a better chance of learning if taught rather than just sneaking onto a public computer or a friend’s smartphone, creating an account, and cruising blindly on their own.

@KNOWITALL Games were actually my original reason for even starting a Facebook account. The fact that Facebook is also the only way I ever met anyone on my father’s side of the family is just a bonus.

And let us not forget that for kids today, Facebook is a hangout spot, so not having Facebook is almost like being grounded. Yeah, it may not have the same draw for adults, and it may have a crappy interface and Byzantine privacy settings, but that doesn’t keep the kids from hanging there.

jca's avatar

I am guessing that kids that age want to keep up with their friends. She might feel left out if all of her friends are on it and she is not. Regardless, I don’t think that kids understand the implications of writing things that may be out to the world. Even with privacy settings, there are still things (like things posted in groups, for example) that are able to be read by the world. I would maybe make a deal with her, like that at age 13 (if that’s what you agree on) she can have one of her own.

As far as games go, I hear that games on FB are a major way we can get viruses.

IMHO, kids will be spending a lot of time in their lifetimes looking at screens. To me, to be able to put that off for as long as possible is a plus. Her ability to learn technology won’t be hampered in any way by postponing FB access for a few years.

jerv's avatar

@jca Facebook games are not really all that virus-ridden. Running Internet Explorer is far riskier. The exception is Trojans, but those have plenty of warnings that make them easy to avoid; those are self-inflicted.

As for postponing learning technology, I disagree. Again, this isn’t 1984, so unless she’s still in second grade, there’s a very real risk of falling behind her peers. The world moves fast. I don’t like that either, but it is what it is. And looking at all of the technologically illiterate people we have out there, I’d almost argue that 10 is a bit late unless you’re Amish or live in the Third World.

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Mimishu1995's avatar

Have this thread turned into: “Does a ten-year-old fall behind everyone in technology because she is denied a Facebook account?” or something?

I’ve been watching how this thread going on but I didn’t want to answer because I wasn’t really sure what to write. But now as this thread has come to this, I think I’ll give a bit of my opinion.

I knew nothing about the Internet until the age of 15, and a year later I just knew about Facebook. And you guess what happened to people around my age during that period? They already knew what Yahoo! Chat, blog, and later Facebook and Skype were. So technically I was several years behind them. Before that I only knew about simple gaming, no more, no less. I couldn’t even use Word properly. But now all of my classmates agree that my computer skills are superior to many of them. You know why? Because to keep up with everyone, I had to learn everything I thought necessary. I didn’t know that I have even learned things that many young people didn’t ever think of looking into (like what an .iso file is or how to distinguish between a fake download button and the real one in a downloading site). There are things that they know and I still don’t know, but I think I know quite a lot about computers.

My parents have just discovered Facebook a couple of days ago and they are at their 50! Many people at their age knew it before them. But do they fall behind? I don’t think so. They were one of the very first people to have access to the computers in my country. To this day they can use many technological devices skillfully. They just don’t know what Facebook is. But seriously, I don’t think they need accounts, because they don’t have many friends who have Facebook accounts and all they do there is just surf around.

My brother doesn’t know about Facebook. And all of his classmates is on the opposite. He once reported to us that some of his friends logged in to Facebook discreetly in the computer lessons. And there has been plenty of scandals in his class which partly involved Facebook. My brother doesn’t use Facebook, but he has already picked up a handful of “inappropriate” words through the internet like the word “bitch” and “fuck you” (though he doesn’t know what “bitch” and “fuck you” means).

So, in my opinion, Facebook doesn’t really affect your child’s knowledge about technology. Letting your child use Facebook is up to you. But if you do, please guide your child. Let your child know what is appropriate and what not. You may also secretly make an account and add your child for easier guidance.

I used Facebook actively for around a month then stopped. Now all I do there is just surf around for notification from my class and sometimes comment on status. And I don’t stay there for long. But it doesn’t affect me much.

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Mimishu1995's avatar

@jonsblond Sorry that you’re upset. I didn’t answer directly to your question either.

So now I’m going to make up and answer directly. I think the reasons for some parents to let their children use Facebook are:

1. They don’t control their children’s use of the internet. Their children discovered Facebook themselves.
2. They think letting the children use Facebook is trendy. They don’t want their children to fall behind with their friends.
3. They use Facebook themselves. So they just let their children use Facebook to communicate with them.

Actually, many adults here have a negative attitude towards Facebook. They don’t let children use Facebook in any circumstances. I have no idea about where you live.

Sometimes we concentrate on the argument so much that we forget what the OP really need…

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Seaofclouds's avatar

[Mod says]: Just a reminder that this is in general folks. Responses must be helpful and on topic. While the discussion of parenting choices can be an interesting one, that is not the topic of this question, which is asking for good reasons why a 10 year old should have Facebook. If you wish to discuss parenting, please make a new question. All off topic responses will be removed from this question. Thank you!

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crushingandreaming's avatar

I know a 7 year old who has a facebook i think it is not good at all.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@crushingandreaming 7-year-old? That’s so young as a Facebook user.
I think his parents worry too much about him falling behind with his friends.

crushingandreaming's avatar

Yes but her parents allow it, and she adds random people she don’t even know.

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